Prior to Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, nearly every single NASCAR team unveiled their special paint schemes. However, the Stewart-Haas Racing stable waited until the last possible moment before providing the first looks. Kevin Harvick, in particular, made fans tear up with a scheme from his rookie season that first debuted after Dale Earnhardt‘s tragic death.
SHR unveiled the design on Saturday evening with a special video. The clip featured a voiceover from Harvick’s rookie year, and it discussed his move to the Cup Series after the fatal Daytona 500 crash. The video then showcased the No. 4 Ford Mustang, which featured a white body and black numbers, matching Harvick’s No. 29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo from 2001. The scheme even featured the red borders around the numbers.
“We’re gonna run Kevin Harvick in a No. 29 white Goodwrench car,” Richard Childress said in the video. Longtime announcer Mike Joy’s voice joined in and explained that Childress would not field a black car following Earnhardt’s death, nor would he have another driver put No. 3 on his car.
“Even to me.. This gives me chill bumps. Remember all of that like it was yesterday. Like many, I cried like a baby. What [Kevin Harvick] has done over the last 20 years, for the sport, for the teams, for the team members, and for all the fans, has been incredible,” wrote Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief, after the big reveal.
Harvick made his Cup Series debut on Feb. 26, 2001
Following Earnhardt’s death, Harvick joined RCR and got behind the wheel of the No. 29 Monte Carlo. He made his debut at Rockingham, starting 36th and racing his way to 14th during the Dura Lube 400. Steve Park won the race after leading 167 of the 393 laps. Hall of Famers Bobby Labonte, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart finished second, third, and fourth, respectively.
Harvick continued to drive the No. 29 Chevrolet for RCR during the 2001 season, starting 35 of the 36 races and securing the first two wins of his Winston Cup career. He took the checkered flag at Atlanta two weeks after his rookie debut, holding off Gordon on the final lap. He then circled the speedway on his victory lap, holding three fingers in the air as a sign of respect to Earnhardt.
Despite facing off with some of NASCAR’s legends and multiple future Hall of Famers, Harvick continued to impress as a Cup rookie. He won his second race at Chicago in Week 18 and finished the season with six top-fives and 16 top-10s.
Harvick has continued to reach Victory Lane in his career
Since starting his career as a replacement driver for Earnhardt, Harvick has remained fighting for wins in the Cup Series. He has become one of NASCAR’s best drivers, racking up 58 wins in the process. This stat line includes a 2018 season in which he won eight races and a 2020 season where he added nine more.
While Harvick posted a career-high nine wins in 2020, he actually turned in his best season in 2014. He won five races and posted 14 top-five finishes while driving the No. 4 Chevrolet. Harvick turned in his best performance in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He held off Ryan Newman in the Ford Ecoboost 400, winning the first Cup championship of his career.
Harvick remains winless through the first 11 races of the 2021 season, but he is eighth in points after posting four top-five finishes. His most recent outing was a second-place finish at Kansas Speedway behind Kyle Busch. Now Harvick will try to reach Victory Lane at Darlington while showcasing a powerful paint scheme.